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Digital opinion

Facebook hashtags - marketing platinum

In March, we mentioned the impending arrival of Facebook hashtags as well as the resistance to this. Like it or not; it has now officially arrived on the platform and brands will need to adapt to them.
Despite being used on both Instagram and Google+, the practice of preceding a term or group of words with the # sign (or 'hashtagging') has gained most of its momentum on Twitter (where it has become common practice for marketers to include customised hashtags into their timelines). The idea being that the degree to which the online audience reacts to this tag could be an indicator of said idea's success or failure.

Our lives continue to become digitally marinated as we increasingly use our smartphones, phablets and tablets to comment on events (such as sports matches) or entertainment (as in radio and television shows).

With respect to TV (previously thought of as a passive medium), this mobile activity is commonly referred to as 'the second screen' - the audience now comes armed with real-time feedback. Feedback (as always) can be both positive and negative; in turn, it can inform content creators to push pedal to the metal or apply their brakes relating to a certain thought.  After all, to marketers, knowing your target audience is gold; knowing their opinions is platinum.

Bearing social media in mind, this method of digital consumption alongside broadcast content was arguably pretty natural and inevitable.  What makes the phenomenon of 'the second screen' arguably more interesting, is the fact that it now occurs so commonly that a phrase exists to describe it.

TV stations are well aware of the 'second screen'; it is now common practice to include a show's hashtag at the bottom right of a screen.  The same goes for advertisers - up until now brands have ensured that audiences know what their social media handles are at the end of an ad.

Social media industry maturing

Increasingly airtime seems to be dedicated to hashtags; the presence on the social media in question is a given. This is a positive indicator that hashtags are positive indicators that the social media industry is maturing.

Using hashtags across both Facebook and Twitter will not only provide more information about public sentiment around a certain aspect; it will simultaneously provide more bang for buck around social media marketing as one's (hopefully well-crafted) hashtag is now more visible than ever before.

In a press statement to Adweek, Facebook announced that, "If you are already using hashtags in an advertising campaign through other channels, you can amplify these campaigns by including your  hashtags in Facebook advertising ... Any hashtags that you use on other platforms that are connected to your Facebook page will be automatically clickable and searchable on Facebook." 
 
At Ctrlroom, we continually come across client and potential client brands who have yet to completely marry their traditional with their online media. Think of Facebook's hashtag action as a wake-up call - a digital shotgun wedding so to speak.

The question is no longer about whether or not social media is right for your business, but rather whether you're digging for marketing gold or platinum. #justsaying
    
 

About Evert Lombaert

Evert is a Social Media Manager at Ctrlroom and GQ Magazine's Film Editor for South Africa. He's left-handed & has Jedi beliefs...and makes a mean burger.
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Read more: hashtag, hashtags

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